Ren Behan's Maple Roasted Rhubarb Pavlova


British-grown rhubarb is still plentiful. Its tart flavour makes it the perfect partner for this pavlova’s sweet, crisp meringue and gooey vanilla cream. Do whip your egg whites well before adding sugar slowly, whisking all the time to make sure all it is incorporated, otherwise the pavlova may brown when cooking.
Serves 8-10

400g rhubarb, cleaned and sliced diagonally, into one inch pieces
80ml maple syrup

For the pavlova:
4 fresh egg whites (around 140g)
220g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1½ tsp vinegar
284ml double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Clean and chop the rhubarb and place it in a small roasting tin. Pour over the maple syrup and coat well. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring once. Cool.
Turn the oven down to 150°C.
In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk or a stand-mixer for at least three minutes, until they have tripled in volume and are quite stiff.
Very slowly add the sugar (in at least three stages) and keep whisking until the mixture is thick and glossy.
Sift over the cornflour, add the vinegar and fold with a metal spoon.
Line a baking tray.
Gently scoop the whisked meringue onto the lined tray and shape into a circle measuring about 9 inches. Make a dip in the centre with the back of a spoon.
Turn the oven down to 120° C and bake for one hour and 20–30 minutes. When cooked, it should be crisp and firm to the touch, but not brown.
Turn the oven off and cool completely inside the oven — overnight if you wish. Store in an airtight container up to three days.
To serve: whisk the double cream with icing sugar and vanilla and spread onto the middle of the meringue. Gently pile the cool, baked rhubarb on top and serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.

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